The regular season
has come to an end, but the fantasy hockey action continues, at least for a
little while, on Draftstreet.
Draftstreet moves into 2-day game mode with the playoff schedule down to
3 or 4 games a night. Your first chance
to get in on the action is Wednesday/Thursday, with 7 of the 8 series in
play. Today's playoff preview will
briefly spotlight each matchup and offer the Top Target and Best Value for each
of the 16 playoff squads.
NYR vs OTT
This one features
the top defensive team in the East (New York) versus the third best offense in
the East (Ottawa). Despite winning the
conference, the Rangers haven't been as impressive lately as they were earlier in
the season. The same can be said for the
Sens. All told, this will be a fairly
even matchup with a few stars worth targeting.
Prediction: Senators with the upset in
OTT - Erik Karlsson (D) - obvious Norris pick,
Karlsson was the leading defensive scorer by 25 points. That's the most dominating performance we've
seen at this position in a generation.
NYR - Henrik Lundqvist (G) - if anyone can stop
Karlsson and the Sens, it's Lundqvist.
He will be solid.
OTT - Sergei Gonchar (D) - $7.3k - with all that
Karlsson has done, the veteran has flown under the radar in a respectable
comeback season. He finished with 37
points, along with a healthy 115 blocked shots.
NYR - Brad Richards (C ) - $11.6k - Richards was so
far down through the first 3/4 of the season, that his tremendous fourth
quarter didn't provide enough time for his salary to over inflate. Only Malkin had more points in the final 2
months of the season.
BOS vs WAS
It came down to the
very end, but the Caps snuck into the playoffs, so can we forget about the
regular season and assume all is well?
Probably not, as they've drawn a round with the defending Champs who
still boast an impressively deep roster of offensive talent. This should be a short series with the B's
coming out looking stronger than they do going in.
Prediction: Bruins walk in 5
BOS: Tyler Seguin (C ) - Last spring, Seguin emerged
as the playoffs drew on by scoring some highlight reel goals, despite very
limited ice time. This time around,
he'll be counted on to lead the offense in the Cup defense.
WAS: Nicklas Backstrom (C ) - if Backstrom hadn't
returned in time, we'd probably be discussing the Sabres in the spot. He'll top a point a game easily.
BOS: David Krejci (C ) - $11.4k - Similar to last
season, Krejci has been up and down all season long. He was an absolute beast come playoff time
last year. Expect another fine run.
WAS: Brooks Laich (C ) - $8.2k - Laich has
historically stepped up his game in the post-season, averaging more points in
playoff games than regular season throughout his career.
FLA vs NJ
It's been over a
decade, but Florida is finally playing spring hockey. It won't last long, so enjoy the next
week. Don't expect much scoring in the
one, so from a fantasy perspective, this isn't a series to target. The top two stars in New Jersey should
provide some thrills.
Prediction: Devils in 6 uneventful
FLA: Jason Garrison (D) - Garrison was a bit of a
surprise this season with his 2.46 FPPG average on the back of 16 goals (3rd
best at this position in the NHL).
NJ: Ilya Kovalchuk (LW) - Kovalchuk had a season
of redemption, piling up 37 goals and 83 points in total. He finished strong with 8 points in 5 games.
FLA: Radek Dvorak (RW) - $2.7k - he's practically
NJ: Zach Parise (LW) - $10.5k - the other superstar
on left wing in New Jersey is priced well to start the series.
PIT vs PHI
This is the series
that will get all the attention in round 1, and rightfully so. It's a stinkin' shame that one of these teams
will not be playing in Round 2. The
winner will likely be lifting the Cup in June.
It's tough to pick just one player to target from both of these
squads. Put the names in a hat.
Prediction: Pens in 6. There's no stopping Crosby-Malkin-Staal down
PIT: Sidney Crosby (C ) - Flip a coin (a three-sided
one). Crosby, Malkin, Neal. Can't go wrong.
PHI: Claude Giroux (C ) - In any other matchup,
Giroux would be the center getting all the press. As it stands, he'll settle for a bronze in
PIT: Pascal Dupuis (LW) - $11.6k - Despite heading
into the playoffs on a league-best 17 game scoring streak, he remains a fair
value. Continue to play him until he
proves us wrong.
PHI: Jaromir Jagr (RW) - $10.6k - he's slowed down
significantly over the course of the year, but should have little trouble
getting up for this challenge.
VAN vs LA
Prior to the start
of the season, I picked the Kings to represent the West in the finals. It could still happen, but it's looking less
likely. The Canucks aren't the offensive
dynamo that they once were, but were still a complete enough team to take
another Presidents trophy. Is Daniel
Sedin healthy enough to lead the top line?
That may decide this one.
Prediction: Call me nuts, but LA in 7.
VAN: Roberto Luongo (G) - When the offense shut
down in the final month, Luongo stepped it up and dominated.
LA: Jonathan Quick (G) - it's a goalie competition
in this series. Quick has a great chance
at the Vezina and no reason to doubt him now when the Canucks have struggled to
VAN: Ryan Kesler (C ) - $9.3k - His production dried
up considerably in the 2nd half of this season, but it's playoff time. Kesler will show.
LA: Jeff Carter (C ) - $7.6k - Assuming he's back
to health in time, you won't find a better value than Carter in this price
STL vs SJ
The Blues are one of
the most complete teams from top to bottom and are a defensive titan. They allowed just 165 goals this season. No other team was close. Halak and Elliot combined for 15 shutouts,
now the question is who will get the chance in the post-season? Meanwhile, the Sharks have the same story as
the Caps back East. High expectations
have been replaced with relief over post-season qualification. Like the Caps, it will be short-lived.
Prediction: The Blues will squeeze the
Sharks in 5 defensive battles.
STL: Jaroslav Halak (G) - When the dust settles,
expect Hitchcock to go with Halak between the pipes. He won't disappoint.
SJ: Joe Pavelski (C ) - Last season, Pavelski was a
beast in the playoffs. He'll need to be
that again if the Sharks are to have any hope of moving past the Blues. He set a career high with 31 goals this
season and will be good for a few more in round 1.
STL: Andy McDonald (C ) - $10.3k - He's produced at
nearly a point a game over the last two season, but few have noticed due to the
SJ: Dominic Moore (C ) - $4.5k - in order to make
cap, you'll need a bargain bin pick or two.
Moore could not care less about the regular season. This is his time.
PHO vs CHI
The biggest question
in this series will be the health and effectiveness of Jonathan Toews. If he's able to shake off the concussion and
return to form quickly, the Hawks are a serious power. Otherwise, the Coyotes could certainly match
up well and win this one.
Prediction: The Hawks in 7, with Toews
gaining speed as it wears on.
PHO: Mike Smith (G) - The hottest goalie to end the
season was Smith. He'll struggle to shut
down the Hawks, but should give some solid games.
CHI: Jonathan Toews (C ) - If he's healthy, he may
be the best player in the West.
PHO: Keith Yandle (D) - $7.6k - Yandle is one of the
best options on defense in the league at any price. This value is too good to pass up.
CHI: Marian Hossa (RW) - $11.2k - He led the Hawks
in scoring, yet he's cheaper than 4 other forwards on Chicago.
NAS vs DET
Much like the East,
the 4-5 matchup in the West is the series to watch in Round 1. And like the Philly-Pittsburgh showdown,
there's a good chance the winner of this epic showdown will represent the West
in the finals. The Preds are extremely
deep at all positions, though they lack a superstar on offense. The Wings will lean on Datsyuk, Zetterberg,
and Lidstrom, as they have for years.
Prediction: Nashville in 5.
NAS: Shea Weber (D) - 19 goals from a defenseman is
worth taking notice of. His canon on the
point will cause problems for Howard.
DET: Pavel Datsyuk (LW) - all hopes for success in
Detroit start with their top gun.
NAS: Mike Fisher (C ) - $9.5k - Fisher has a history
of elevating his game in the post-season.
DET: Valtteri Filppula (C ) - $7.9k - Filppula has
quietly put together a solid season, yet remains a value under 8k.
And for the record,
my Cup prediction: Pittsburgh over
For more insight
into daily fantasy sports, check out more of my posts on http://www.Rotogrinders.com.
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try daily fantasy hockey on Draftstreet,
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